MESQUITE, Texas –“There’s a battle off the field in Mesquite over a young football player who has been told he’s too big and cannot play.At 12 years old Elijah Earnheart stands over 6 feet tall and weights almost 300 pounds.
For the past three weeks he’s been practicing with the Mesquite Vikings, a Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association team. But on Sunday at a pre-season weigh-in he was told he’s too big and can’t suit up.
The president of the league said the rule is any seventh grader over 135 pounds is barred and must play in the school league.
Elijah’s size hasn’t prevented him from playing football until now. And he and his mother said he’s not ready to go up against kids with years of playing behind them.
“I don’t want to play in school right now because it’s people that’s had experience and I want to get some experience first and then start playing,” he said. “I just want to play because my teammates are my friends. I know them. I don’t want to go play for somebody else I don’t know.”
Coach Marc Wright is protesting the decision. He said there are a lot of seventh graders over the weight limit and they are being allowed to play.
“If they’re over 135 they have to wear a symbol on their helmet, which is the X. So if they’re an X-man they have to play offensive line, defensive line only,” he said.
Elijah’s mother, Cindy Earnheart, also plans to protest with painted signs and shirts that say, “Let Elijah Play.”
“For him to come home and just cry and go to his room and say, ‘I give up.’ I’m not going to let him give up. This is his dream. This is what he wants to do. And I’m going to make it happen,” she said.
But Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association President Ronnie Henderson said rules are rules. He said several other players were barred Sunday night for the same reason and the X-man exemption Wright referred to only applies to elementary school players.
“The coach over there should have known this. He’s been told this. He’s been to our meetings. He knows this. I don’t know where the misunderstanding was. We hate it. I don’t like it for the kid or the parents,” he said.
Henderson said he would look into the allegations that there are other seventh graders over 135 pounds playing in the league.”
What are your thought on this? I personally think that the association is right in not allowing children of his size to play in the pee-wee league. Just like my son, there is nothing pee-wee about him. At their size, they could hurt other kids smaller than them. However, I do feel bad for the boy that he was allowed to go to practices for the last few weeks and then is being told that he cannot play. Everyone, including the mom too, should’ve been aware of the rules before it got to this point. They have to be realistic and know that he could unintentionally hurt other children who are smaller than him. Anyone who has watched a pee-wee or middle school football game knows that there is a wide variety of sizes and shapes out on the field.
If it were me, I wouldn’t let it discourage my child. This boy will have unlimited opportunities to be successful at football as he gets older. Coaches drool over kids his size. As longs as he does well in school, he will be drowning in college scholarship offers and coaches scooting him for their college teams. This child’s mom should be encouraging him and letting him know that he has a very bright future in football if that is where his heart is, no matter where he plays right now or who he plays for.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this but please — be mindful. I was reading some of the comments on the Fox news website and couldn’t believe the amount of stupidity out there. One person actually said “How can a 12 year old actually be this size?” Really? That made me angry. The person who wrote it probably doesn’t even have kids.
It’s not like we’re feeding our kids growth hormones or even Wheaties for them to be “this size”. I’m 5’2″ myself but my husband is 6’2″ and his dad’s side bred big boned, large structured people. It just so happened that our son got his family’s genes and not mine (my daughter got my genes…thank goodness it wasn’t the other way around!). I have to strain my neck just to look up at my 8th grader!
I love that he’s a big, strong kid. He used to be teased in elementary school for his size but since growing into himself, nobody messes with him now and he is proud of who he is. The praise and encouragement that he gets from his coaches on the football field also helps to strengthen his self esteem. He is my big teddy bear because under all that, he’s got a HUGE heart too and that’s all that matters.